THE NORTHWEST’S jobless rate continues to decline, a reflection of increasing regional economic activity.
Statistics Canada figures for July indicate there were 41,000 people working in the area from the North Coast to just this side of Vanderhoof, an increase of 600 over June.
That was sufficient to drop the jobless rate to six per cent, lower than June’s 6.7 per cent and May’s 7.7 per cent.
And as the number of people working edges upwards, the number of unemployed has also dropped – from 3,300 in May to 2,900 in June to 2,600 in July.
July’s jobless rate of 6 per cent is also a marked improvement from the 11.9 per cent for July 2012.
July 2012’s statistics show there were 38,400 people working then with 5,200 people saying they were unemployed.
And, in comparison to recent years when the northwest had the highest jobless rate among regions in BC, that’s no longer the case.
Three regions – the Thompson-Okanagan with 6.6 per cent, the Lower Mainland with 6.8 per cent and Vancouver Island with 6.4 per cent – had higher rates in July than did the northwest.
The northwest even did better than the provincial average of 6.6 per cent for July.
The Kootenays with 5.5 per cent, the Cariboo with 5.9 per cent and the northeast with 4.5 per cent topped the northwest.
The northwest jobless rate is not the number of people collecting Employment Insurance.
Instead it is based on interviews of people from the north coast to just this side of Vanderhoof who consider themselves as part of the workforce whether they are employed or not.
And that means the jobless rate can reflect how people feel about their own employment prospects.
Overall, however, the provincial jobs situation declined in July.
Statistics Canada figures show the province lost 11,700 jobs with most of the drop coming in part-time positions.
Provincial jobs minister Shirley Bond said the news wasn’t a surprise.
“We know that monthly fluctuations in job numbers are to be expected, and in three of the past five years, our province has experienced July job losses, she said.
“Despite these losses, we are better off than where we were a year ago, with B.C. placing third in the country in terms of job creation since the launch of the jobs plan,” said Bond of the figures.